Movie: ‘The Switch’
In Theaters: Aug. 20, 2010
Director: Josh Gordon
Runtime: 101 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language
I don’t know if Jennifer Aniston intentionally plays the same character in every movie, but it certainly seems that way.
Oh, there are variations of the character. In the completely forgettable ‘The Bounty Hunter,’ she plays a reporter who goes on the run with her ex-husband bounty hunter. In ‘Love Happens,’ she plays a florist who falls for a widower. In ‘He’s Just Not That Into You,’ she plays a woman whose boyfriend doesn’t want to get married. In ‘Marley & Me,’ she plays the wife of columnist John Grogan. In ‘The Break-Up,’ she plays a woman fighting (a lot) with her ex-boyfriend.
And on and on. Even though these are different roles with different names in different movies, they’re basically all Jennifer Aniston playing the same character in various situations. She’s funny, a little quirky, a little girl-next-door (though no one in my neighborhood looks like her), and beloved by both male and female moviegoers.
This is not to say that’s bad. Like I said, maybe it’s calculated. Maybe this is the type of character Aniston really likes to play. But the problem, then, is that it’s hard for viewers to see her in any other type of role. And maybe that’s ok. I don’t really know.
In ‘The Switch,’ she plays her usual loveable character in the form of Kassie Larson, an unmarried 40-something woman who’s tired of waiting for Mr. Right to come along. So she chooses a guy named Roland (Patrick Wilson) who seems like he’d produce acceptable offspring, and turns to a turkey baster (or similar device) to make a baby.
Deed done, baby born, everyone goes on their merry way. Seven years later, Kassie reunites with her neurotic best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman), but there’s something odd about Kassie’s young son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). He seems an awful lot like Wally. Given the film title and trailers, I’m not revealing any spoilers here when I tell you that Wally replaced Roland’s sperm with his own. Yes, Sebastian is Wally’s son, only it takes a while for Kassie and Wally to figure it out.
What happens next is the question. Does Kassie decide that Wally is good dad material? Does Sebastian have any say in the matter? And what happens with sperm donor Roland?
‘The Switch’ is the sort of movie that’s fairly entertaining while you’re watching it, especially if you like any of these actors (Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum play friends of the non-couple). But because of Aniston’s same-character syndrome, it might blend together with all of her other movies. Aniston and Bateman have ok chemistry – not overly remarkable, but ok – and Robinson ventures into Abigail Breslin territory with his adorableness.
Is it family fare? That depends on whether your sons or daughters like these types of romantic comedies, as well as the actors involved. The PG-13 rating is on target, mainly because of the subject matter, which includes one scene with a bare behind. But if you have a teenaged daughter in the house, this might be a fun mother-daughter outing.